Sunday, January 10, 2016

Review: Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund

About the book:

Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund
Beacons of Hope: Book 2
Bethany House

After her father’s death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren’t supposed to have such roles, so it’s only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper–even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.

Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle. He’s secured the position of lighthouse keeper mostly for the isolation--the chance to hide from his past is appealing. He’s not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who’s angry with him for taking her job and for his inability to properly run the light. When his failings endanger others, he and Caroline realize he’s in no shape to run the lighthouse, but he's unwilling to let anyone close enough to help. Caroline feels drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope…and possibly love?

My review:

At this point it is a given that I will devour anything Jody Hedlund publishes and her new Beacons of hope series is no exception. For some reason I always seem to be start reading a series with the middle book but that was not a problem. Each of these beautiful stories can stand alone with only a little reference to the previous works.

Ryan Chambers is a beautifully flawed character who is looking to start his life over and make amends for past mistakes. When he discovers light keeper jobs are being offered to injured war veterans he sees the perfect opportunity. Caroline Taylor, after the death of her father, has been masterfully running the Windmill Point Lighthouse but soon finds herself being forced from the job she loves because of her gender. This is a touching story of healing and second chances told through captivating writing and in a setting I had never really given much thought to.

Tessa was such a fun character and I truly felt sad for her as she learned from her mistakes just a little too late but bravely faced the consequences of her actions. I am truly happy she has her own installment of this series as well.  

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. *

Review: Exodus by Cliff Graham

About the book:
Exodus by Cliff Graham
Shadow of the Mountain: Book 1
Bethany House

Caleb and Joshua Roar to Life in this High-Impact Old Testament Saga

Two men were brave enough to tell the truth about what awaited the Hebrews in Canaan. This is their story. From the slave pits of Egypt to the efforts of an eighty-five-year-old Caleb as he drives out the last of the giants, Shadow of the Mountain is a vivid portrait of two of God's chosen champions, and a meditation on masculine mentorship and the challenges and blessings of growing older.

For the sake of his new God and his loyalty to his friend Joshua, Caleb will not spend his twilight years resting, but taking the battle to the enemies of God's people until his dying breath. From his early days as a mercenary for Pharaoh in Egypt watching the Hebrews suffer under the yoke of slavery, all the way through a desperate fight with giants in the dark forests of the hill country, this is a story filled with epic battles, gritty intensity, and supernatural events that made Graham's Lion of War series a hit. Shadow of the Mountain is sure to ignite a love for the Old Testament in popular culture

My review:

Biblical fiction has always been a personal favorite of mine. Some of the best stories I’ve ever heard are Bible stories and are still influencing literature today. I personally feel, however, that some of the realness and grittiness of these stories is overlooked or intentionally toned down. Cliff Graham’s Exodus was like a breath of fresh air. His writing was realistic, deliberate and engrossing. I was thoroughly captivated and cannot wait for the rest of the series.

I enjoyed the strong male voice with which Graham told his story.  Narrated by an aging Caleb recounting his story to his nephew on the eve of a battle, it was exciting to imagine the life of a character that we really now so little about. With so little to go on it was evident that the author did his research and he masterfully wove together fact and fiction.

I am looking forward to meeting Joshua and seeing more of this story unfold. This author is new to me but, much to my excitement, he has another several other books already publisher about great warriors of the Bible that I plan to look into to. I would recommend this author to any that are fans of exciting biblical fiction that do not mind a little violence. There is nothing too gory but these were dangerous times and the writing stayed wonderfully true to that.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. *